warning about hand-cancelling invitations!

Online Users: 0 guest(s), 0 user(s). Replies: 7

sweetneet Posts : 45 Registered: 7/21/06
warning about hand-cancelling invitations!
Posted: Jun 23, 2007 7:39 AM

So a few days ago, before sending out all of my invitations, I decided to send out one invitation to my parents as a "test", to make sure it arrived properly and everything. Since I had read many books on wedding invitations, rather than just dropping it in the mailbox I went to the local post office and asked for it to be hand-canceled. So I saw the guy put the circular red stamp on it, and I saw that it was put into a special bin (where someone else had a bunch of hand-canceled invitations) and so I thought all was well. Hah.

Well, I was under the impression that hand-canceling was supposed to prevent the invitation from going through those automatic machines, so it wouldn't get all those ugly marks on it (those wavy lines over the stamp, and those barcode-like thingies on the bottom). After all, that's the reason why all the wedding books advise to request hand-canceling! I also had requested hand-canceling because the invitations enclosed had rigid objects like brads and rings (causing an uneven surface) and thus I was worried the invites would get damaged by running through any machines.

However, last night my parents just called me to let me know that they had received my invitation--they let me know that it was very nice, but the outer envelope had a big HOLE RIPPED THROUGH IT! Frown Plus, the vellum on my invitation (near one of the brads) was torn. So I figured that the invitation must have gone through a machine anyway, and the rip was caused by the ring enclosure getting caught or something. So I asked them to send me a picture of it, and sure enough, it HAD gone through machine anyway... it had ALL those ugly postage marks!! Yell It had the barcode marks on BOTH sides of the envelope (different colors), meaning it probably had gone through at least 2 sorting machines on the way. Well, what was the point of going through the trouble of getting it hand-cancelled, if it was going to go thru machines anyway and get all ripped up & mangled? ARGH!! Frown

Anyway, I got really upset because I had put SOOOO much time & effort into making these invitations look really nice (i had made all 90 invitations myself, which involved printing, cutting the vellum, stamping, tying a bow, affixing specially-colored brads, etc). I had hand-addressed all envelopes with a special pen, and even used a custom-made stamp (engagement picture of me & FH)..all this trouble and now I realized that even if I would hand-cancel them they probably were just going to get totally messed up by the time everyone received them. Cry Argh. I had been under the impression (no pun intended, hah) that hand-cancelling would prevent an invitation from going through machines & getting those nasty marks. Well, now I know, IT DOESN'T, SO BE WARNED!! MIGHT NOT BE WORTH WASTING YOUR TIME AT THE POST OFFICE! Thing is, realistically an invite will probably have to go through a number of sorting machines to reach its destination (mine was going from Cambridge, MA to San Francisco, CA area). Also, if you go to a small post office even it was hand-cancelled there it might still get a machine cancellation mark on the stamp from the "main" post office it leaves from (mine got one at Boston, MA). Argh.

Sorry this is so long, I just wanted to issue a warning to those of you about to send out your invitations: taking the trouble to get your invitations hand-canceled might not do much in the end. So be warned if you have special enclosures or what not..will likely go through the machines anyway and get mangled/torn up. I guess if you're sending it to a local address, it might not go through any machines at all, but if your sending it out of state, it probably will, so don't bother.


Misha Posts : 319 Registered: 3/28/06
Re: warning about hand-cancelling invitations!
Posted: Jun 23, 2007 6:59 PM Go to message in response to: sweetneet

Thanks for the heads up on that.  Did you go back to the post office to talk to them?  I live in a tiny town and was planning on getting them hand canceled at our local post office.  But if that's what happens then I won't waste the girls' time at the PO.  I'll have to ask about this next time I'm there.


sweetneet Posts : 45 Registered: 7/21/06
Re: warning about hand-cancelling invitations!
Posted: Jun 23, 2007 11:09 PM Go to message in response to: Misha

Nah, I didn't go back there and talk to them...i've been way to busy with other things (currently am in process of moving from Boston to LA). But in all my packing and looking at keepsakes of friends' old wedding invitations, i noticed at least two invitations that were hand canceled that had the "barcode" marks at the bottom. So I don't think my experience was unique, i think most post offices do hand-cancel them ok but they just eventually go thru some sorting machines anyway....


Chad Posts : 637 Registered: 10/3/06
Re: warning about hand-cancelling invitations!
Posted: Jun 24, 2007 11:59 AM Go to message in response to: sweetneet

I'm sorry you had to find this out the hard way.  You're right.  Hand canceling only stops them from going through 1 machine.  They'll go through many more on their journey and you can't stop it.  Even locally they go through sorting machines.  

Chad ~ 11.19.05


virginiabride Posts : 60 Registered: 12/14/06
Re: warning about hand-cancelling invitations!
Posted: Jun 28, 2007 12:13 PM Go to message in response to: Chad

yes, i just found this out too directly from the U.S. Postal Service.  Hand cancelling only prevents it from going through one machine.  They will still go through many more sorters on their route to the destination.  The way to avoid this is to pay for "special handling" for each invitiation.  This will prevent it from going through any sorters.  I have no idea how much this is but I suspect you will pay dearly for this service.

Re: warning about hand-cancelling invitations!
Posted: Jun 29, 2007 5:51 PM Go to message in response to: virginiabride

Don't forget, the system not only is there to verify and void/paid your postage, but to serve as a logistics system-- just like when you buy a Dell computer online, or just about anything that has to then roll around through an acre of warehouse somewhere... 

All those billions of letters per year have to be routed, so I'm not surprised by the marks...

Somebody invented non-skid-mark sneakers, why cant they take the same material and make rollers out of them?

Lead designer, byAttila.com
Beyond Invitations and Announcements.


Jen123456 Posts : 1 Registered: 6/25/10
USPS Hand Canceling Fee a Rip Off
Posted: Jun 25, 2010 4:51 PM Go to message in response to: Guest

USPS charges an extra 20 cent "Non Machinable" fee for envelopes that
ostensibly cannot be run through machines, then jams them through
machines anyway. Depending on the thickness of the contents, envelopes
arrive with distasteful greasy creases on the edges and the contents
are flattened and, as happened to OP, sometimes torn. It appears the
unofficial policy of USPS is to NOT hand cancel but charge for it

A fellow named John E. Potter is our present US post
master general and he can be contacted at:
John E. Potter
Postmaster General
U.S. Postal Service
L'Enfant Plaza, SW
Washington, DC 20260-0010


swichwang34 Posts : 657 Registered: 9/13/12
Re: warning about hand-cancelling invitations!
Posted: Sep 15, 2012 9:45 PM Go to message in response to: sweetneet

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